Remember crazy checks? They're back | Arkansas Blog

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Remember crazy checks? They're back

Posted By on Sun, Jun 2, 2013 at 6:48 PM

Arkansas had a run with politicians making far more than evidence ever supported of the notion that parents were schooling their kids to act crazy to qualify for Social Security Disability checks. "Crazy checks" entered the right-wing welfare-attack lexicon here.

Charles Pierce recalls some of the Arkansas experience here.

The Pierce column was a while back, spurred by more highly criticized reporting, this time by the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Nick Kristoff, who claimed kids were being discouraged from learning to read to keep the checks coming.

FAIR took Kristoff to task here. For one thing, illiteracy isn't enough to qualify for checks. For another, Kristoff never talked to a family that had done this. He defends his work relying on other sources..

The New York Times public editor writes today, however, that the prize-winning columnist's work, well, needs more work.

But now, having read all the material — points and counterpoints, objections and defenses — I believe that some of the column’s assertions were based on too little direct evidence or used statistical information that is, at the very least, open to interpretation.

No matter. Those who want to strangle welfare believe the folklore and disregard the facts. It has always been so.

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